Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan participated in a online chat with Bucs fans on Tuesday, answering questions regarding his offseason workout and expectations for '09.
jm_bucsfan: How hard is stealing bases at the Major League level?
nyjer_morgan: Stealing bases at the Major League
level is definitely very difficult. The transition I had to make from the minors was
understanding how quick and pristine the playing surfaces are. That's why I was
oversliding the bags when I first got called up. But once I understood where to slide after
having practice with the instructors, I started becoming a lot better at stealing bases.
p_alvarez: Hey Nyjer, any chance you take up hockey again?
nyjer_morgan: I'm still passionate about the game, but now I realize
that I'm a Major League Baseball player so I guess I'm all done. I'm excited to be going to
the Penguins game tonight, especially to see Eric Goddard drop the mitts (hopefully) with
Derek Boogard, two guys I used to play hockey with.
BuccoMGB: Who is/was your role model on the baseball field?
nyjer_morgan: I really don't have a role model. I kinda look up to just
the energy that the fans bring to the park and that's what gives me the motivation to come
out and shine and be successful for my teammates and the fans.
kirkmlb: What was your biggest adjustment made after you rejoined
the team in late august that resulted in your improved numbers at the plate?
nyjer_morgan: The biggest adjustment I made was slowing the game
down and not trying to worry about what was going on with me at that time in the front
office. I just wanted to go out there and play and have fun.
piratefan11: What is your offseason workout program? Are you
working harder than previous offseasons? Do you look at guys like Ryan Doumit who
came to the last camp in great shape and had great seasons as an example?
nyjer_morgan: My offseason workout program has definitely picked
up with more intensity. I'm definitely working a lot harder than the previous years. Ryan
had a solid season and a lot of that came from hard work in the offseason but I know that
I work hard in the offseason and came into camp in great shape myself.
palaceben: How upsetting is it to be sent back to the Minors after
waiting for years to be called up to the Big Leagues?
nyjer_morgan: At the time it was very upsetting and it was definitely a
transition from being on top of the world to being sent back down and having your
bubble burst, but that's part of adversity and will make you a stronger player. But if you
let those things affect you mentally then you really don't stand a chance in this game.
rickyrossi: No question here just a shoutout for my best friend. just
wanted to surprise you and let you know i got your back this year. good luck and god
bless!!!! your boy chuck b.
nyjer_morgan: What up, Big Chuck?
jm_bucsfan: What is your relationship with Nate McLouth like?
nyjer_morgan: Me and Nate, ever since I first met him in the minors,
we've always had a good relationship. Even though I'm a year or two older than him, I
still look up to him because he is a little more experienced and seasoned at the Major
League level. And our relationship is fine. It's just peachy.
ballerness: What skills do you plan on working on this offseason?
nyjer_morgan: The skills are coming into camp ready to go, ready to
compete. Just go out there and just play hard and with a lot of enthusiasm and fun, and
hopefully bring a lot of energy so fans can enjoy coming to the ballpark every night and
watch the Buccos get after it.
piratefan11: Have you or the organization set goals for you for the
nyjer_morgan: Our goal as a team is to come out each night prepared
for any type of situation and leave it all out on the field and just bring a lot of energy.
rabayer: From your experience with the team last year, do you feel the
Pirates have the pieces in place to make a run at the division next year? What are feelings
like around the locker room and such?
nyjer_morgan: I definitely think we have the pieces. You know we
might not be ready for the top of the mountain in the National League Central, but we're going to sneak up
on a lot of teams this year because as you fans know, and me being a player, we have the
pieces but are maybe missing just a few. We have the right people in the front office and
on the coaching staff to get us to being one of the top organizations in baseball once
jasbird9: If you could compare yourself to any other baseball player playing or retired who would that be?
nyjer_morgan: I think it would be Juan Pierre, but I have just a little
sdtelvanni: What was your most memorable experience in the Minor
nyjer_morgan: Probably my first championship with Williamsport in
2003 and I ended up winning the organizational batting champ that year by batting .343.
p_alvarez: How confident are you in having a starting role in 2009?
nyjer_morgan: I'm very confident about it. I just want to build off of
how I finished off last year and just be ready to at the top of the order and get the things
rolling for the '09 campaign.
jsole10: What is your favorite thing about playing in Pittsburgh?
nyjer_morgan: The fans because they are so passionate about this
game. There's so much history in the city of Pittsburgh and the Primanti's sandwiches. I
never had one of those until a couple of days after I got here. I got the corned beef, fries
and cole slaw.
signdante: Who would win in a race: Nyjer Morgan running the bases,
or Nyjer Morgan ice skating in a hockey rink?
nyjer_morgan: Nyjer Morgan on the ice.
caparosa: How long were you a fan of baseball before you started to
nyjer_morgan: I've always been a fan. I think it started from my
grandfather and he instilled in my dad the love for the game. My dad had me at the field
at the age of three hitting ground balls to me.
sdtelvanni: Who was the toughest pitcher you faced this year?
nyjer_morgan: All of them (laughing). That's why they're in the big
kirkmlb: Any ballpark jump out at you that you would consider a tough place to play
outfield? One you enjoyed the most?
nyjer_morgan: Houston. The reason is because there are so many
different angles and so many new different dimensions especially with the hill right
behind you in center field. I think that's probably one of the difficult ballparks in the
caparosa: Do you enjoy going to camp and being with your team
nyjer_morgan: Yeah, I always enjoy going to camp because you
haven't seen those guys in about six months and then when you're together you're a
family. After not seeing someone for such a long time, it's enjoyable to see the same
Welby: What is your relationship with new Bucs Andy Laroche, [Brandon] Moss,
and [Craig] Hansen?
nyjer_morgan: All four of us get along. Andy is a great guy. Brandon
Moss is really funny and Hansen's just real laid back.
jsole10: Other than PNC Park what is your favorite ballpark to play
nyjer_morgan: Wrigley Field because the atmosphere and the history
and especially the fans that are behind you. Those rowdy fans in the outfield that are right
on top of you.
j2square: How hard is it to make it to the bigs?
nyjer_morgan: It's very hard. But with hard work and believing in
yourself, any of your goals can be accomplished even though there might be some bumps
in the road.
dogs717: What does it feel like to show that a 33rd round Draft pick could
get to the Majors?
nyjer_morgan: It doesn't really matter where you are drafted. All I
really wanted was an opportunity to show people that I can play this game at the
Mungo: Nyjer you seem to have so much fun playing the game, you
remind me of Kirby Puckett, just out there having fun. How do you stay so loose and play
nyjer_morgan: Because I never forgot it's still a game and this game
always should be fun.
bucsfan79: Any memorable hecklers behind you in the outfield?
nyjer_morgan: Oh yeah. I was in San Francisco and they were telling
me this is Bonds country so I kicked the grass and made a nice little divot in there and
told them this was my land.
pittguest: Thank you, everyone, once again for joining Nyjer Morgan
in his Web chat today. Our next Web chat is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 3, with
Frank Coonelly at 2:00 p.m. ET. Thanks again!
nyjer_morgan: Thanks fans. I really enjoyed talking with you. We'll
see you here for the 2009 season.